Saturday, September 25, 2010

Places & Aminals (4)

While I was preparing and putting together this post with the new and improved Blogger editor (which in my opinion sucks for this type of blog) I remembered that the pictures from the last post and this post were actually taken during a very rare lunch date with the wife back in late April. I took a half day off from work and spent that Thursday having lunch and taking a walk through the park with my wife. So, without further ado, the final installment of Places and Aminals.

This was taken right after we finished interrupting the ducks from the previous post. This is the waterfalls as seen from the bridge. Note the fact that there's actually water flowing down the falls, because most of the summer was spent in non-rainy bright sunshiny days. In other words, drought-like conditions that have not only spawned a few water conservation warnings going into autumn, but has caused autumn to appear earlier than normal.

In this shot, the pond is rare form and yes in the background, that is the man-made fountain that helps keep the pond relatively full (although for the past couple of months it has not been used heavily due to the water restrictions, so about 75% of the pond is covered in green algae). In any event, it was a gorgeously sunny late afternoon day, perfect for taking a casual stroll around the pond and the park.

This shot gives you a better view of what the water fountain that keeps the pond full looks like. In the foreground is what the extent of algae content usually looks like in the pond. Fascinating reflection of the trees in the pond, don't you think?

This shot was taken while we were sitting at a table in the infamous kiddie area of the playground. We (the wife and I) decided to take a short breather before going home, so we took a seat at one of the tables. Well the breeze that was blowing through was through the playground was so invigorating that I leaned back and pointed the camera up. The end result is what you see here.

This is the back, or rather the only, parking lot to Mill Pond Park. As you can see, it's nicely landscaped by our local Parks & Rec department. In the far background, you can see the infamous kiddie playscape. To the right is where we parked. Lots of shade and less than a dozen cars made it incredibly easy to find a choice parking space.

My cat Holly. On the move or on the prowl, it was one of the few non-posed photos that I've been able to get of her over the past few years.

Another action shot of Holly, peeking out from around the corner of the stairs and from the messy dining room. Not sure what she was looking at, but it definitely wasn't me. The wooden rail that you see is actually from the back deck. My brother (and mother) have a nasty habit of bringing outdoor things inside for no other reason than to stupidly clutter up the house.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Places & Aminals (3)

Well now, after a one week hiatus, I'm back in the saddle again and boring everyone to tears with my ventures into cliche land. So without further adieu, we begin at the late middle of Places & Aminals.

Continuing our journey through the local cemetery where my dad is currently residing at, this photo is the front version of the distance shot you saw in the post of two weeks ago. I wasn't able to get to the cemetery this past weekend for research purposes, but from what I remember last time, this memorial is dedicated to all the local men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and the flags are from all branches of the service. The empty flag pole that you see wasn't empty, but I simply couldn't get any further back for the shot without disrespecting the other people who are interred there as well.

Back to the duck. However, this wasn't taken in my backyard, but in fact was taken at Mill Pond Park. The park has a very large contingent of ducks and Canadian geese and in fact are quite brazen when they're on the land. I should add that they have absolutely no fear of people, which is why I was able to get such extreme close ups with this and the remaining pictures.

Like I said, with an extremely large population of Canadian geese that call Mill Pond Park their home. How large? How does an entire baseball field plus the outfield and foul line to foul line obliterated by geese grab ya? Anyways, these geese have no fear of humans either, as you can see from this particular shot. The short path that you see heading into the bushes leads right into the pond, where there is a bench that you can sit and fish from. In between the adults is a small flock of baby geese, which you can see more clearly in the next shot. Oh and the main pathway we're on takes you around the perimeter of the pond and over the waterfalls.

Same spot, except I'm shooting this from the left hand side of the path. You can see about a dozen baby geese along with the three adults in the foreground and a slighter large flock in the back.

Like I said, absolutely no fear of humans. I was able to get within ten feet of them for this shot. Fortunately, I was able to avoid the one thing that plagues this park nine months out of the year: doo-doo.

Got within three feet for this shot. You can see the pool and the pond in the background.

Same thing with this one, got within three feet for this shot. I think this is the same flock from earlier. A few adults and a dozen or so babies. In the background is the local soccer field and where this shot was taken, is the staging area for the town's Extravaganza that was used as a background for one of my short stories.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This Is Your Brain After Its Been Smacked Around One Too Many Times

I've been suffering through the kind of week that makes being like Chickie's good ol' buddy Pete a very good thing. Which means that I wasn't terribly motivated to do anything else except dig out this funky e-mail picture from 2008. How 'bout you? Ever have the kind of week that makes you feel like Chickie's bosum buddy Pete there?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Places & Animals (2)

This post will contain a personal mini-trip down memory lane for me, but overall this post should be experienced in the same context that it was written.

Yes, you are seeing cows for the first three pictures. We have a couple of working farms here in Newington. The one that owns the cows, is called the Eddy Farm, and is one of the oldest working farms in Connecticut, having come into existence in the mid 18th century. If you click on the link, you can learn more information about this important piece of local agricultural history. Also if you're in the area, during the summer months the farm sells fresh produce at a stand located about three hundred years from where I took these photos.

Anyways, the story on how I came about to taking pics of these cows (considering where the grazing field is located) is quite interesting. I had taken a rare half day off from work and I was on my way to having lunch on the Turnpike, when I spotted about a dozen cows or so grazing in the field. So, I pulled my car way over to the side of the road (because I was on a busy thoroughfare), threw it into park, rolled my window down and slid over to the passenger seat and took a few pictures of the cows.

A little background as to where this field is located. Deep in the background of the second picture you can see the farm, and off to the left of the first and third picture, you can just make out the out of bounds area for the local private golf course. Yup, the local country club is located next door to the farm. Directly behind me is the softball/soccer fields, which double as the launch site for the July 4th fireworks.

And now, the mini-trip down memory lane. The next four photographs were taken on the same day and within an hour of so after the cows. The location is the town cemetery, which is bordered by the high school, a senior citizens complex and the Kellogg-Eddy house (original owners of the farm and important local people in the 17th & 18th century). The gravestone is of my dad, Professor George B. Miller, Sr., who passed away in July 2004.

I now present to you, a brief explanation of what you're seeing in these three photos of my dad's marker. First off, the wooden statue contains a metal carving of the local Masonic Lodge (Stratford CT) that my dad was a member of while he was alive. The two flags that you see there (US and Stars & Bars) are not the original that were put there in '04. While the US flag has been the same over the years, the other flag was originally the country of Jamaica, because that country became his second home while he was alive. The Stars & Bars popped up as a replacement in 2008 after a trip to the Civil War museum in Harrisburg PA. The cross is from the local Palm Sunday celebration at the Catholic church located across from the cemetery entrance.

In this shot, you can see some of the details of the two flags that were carved into the headstone. Main reason why even though my dad passed away in July, his ashes weren't interred until November (the weather on that November day was very much like the weather you see in these photos). The other carving of the house with the heart and arms, signifies that we welcomed people into our house with open arms and open hearts. And of course, the plot is perfectly located under the shadiest tree in the cemetery.

This is the shot of the roadway looking east. You can see some of the gravestones and some of the displays just off to the right. Some of the displays are truly poignant and have moved me in ways that I don't feel comfortable in describing. The flagpole that you see in the distance is to a memorial that I will go over in greater detail next week, as the next batch of photos lead off with that memorial.